Julio Martinez

Julio Martinez

Julio pens the weekly LA STAGE Insider column for @ This Stage Magazine, as well as the monthly LA STAGE History column. He is a recurring contributor to Written By (the monthly publication of the Writer’s Guild of America) and is the TeleVision columnist for Latin Heat Entertainment. On air, he hosts the weekly Arts in Review program for KPFK 90.7 FM. An active journalist for over 30 years, Julio’s articles and reviews have appeared in Los Angeles Times Magazine, Daily Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, L.A. Weekly, Stage Raw, Backstage West, Westways Magazine, and Drama-Logue Magazine, among others.

LA STAGE INSIDER

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Matt Walker and Mike Sulprizio in Troubadour Theater Company’s “A Midsummer Saturday Night’s Fever Dream”

La Mirada Theatre will transform from a big theater into a midsize theater March 21-30, as it offers a production of the musical Spring Awakening. All of the seating will be on the stage, with only 199 seats available for each performance. The theater’s producing artistic director Brian Kite is the director. The announcement on the website says the production will open La Mirada’s new Onstage series. That series had also been announced in 2009, when the first production was scheduled to be the musical Floyd Collins — but that production fell through…La Mirada will also host a July 12-14 weekend revival of Troubadour Theater Company’s A Midsummer Saturday Night’s Fever Dream, following the usual longer run of the Troubies show at the Falcon Theatre from May 31 through July 7.  The Troubies’ mash-up of Shakespeare and Saturday Night Fever first opened in 2000 at Grove Theater Center in Garden Grove, transferred immediately to Miles Playhouse in Santa Monica, then moved to the Falcon at the end of 2000, extending into 2001. But the 2013 production will be “re-imagined” (no doubt by Troubies wizard Matt Walker) and “re-choreographed,” according to the Falcon website.

 

Mike Stoller and Corky Hale Stoller. Photo by Earl Gibson

NOW IT CAN BE REVEALED: Yes, we all know the Pasadena Playhouse was broke in May 2010 — to the extent that it wouldn’t have been surprising to hear the artistic director Sheldon Epps singing the ’60s pop lament “I (Who Have Nothing).”  But Mike Stoller, one of the two men who wrote and produced the English version of that song, and his wife Corky Hale Stoller stepped forward with a $1 million contribution to the playhouse. Their gift inspired a matching fund-raising campaign that returned the playhouse to solvency. The identity of these two key donors wasn’t revealed until yesterday, amid much praise from Epps. The playhouse released this statement from Stoller, who was half of the famous songwriting and production team of (Jerry) Leiber & Stoller:  “Although I had met with Sheldon Epps on professional matters several years ago, it was only after reading that this wonderful theater was to close after 93 years that we decided we couldn’t let that happen.” Both Stollers have served on the theater’s board since they made their gift…Also at the Pasadena Playhouse, Epps has been announced as the director of the musical Sleepless in Seattle, opening June 2. He replaces Lonny Price.

 

Olympia Dukakis and Apollo Dukakis in “The Tempest” at Shakespeare & Company. Photo by Kevin Sprague

AROUND TOWN: Those thespian siblings Olympia Dukakis and Apollo Dukakis will lead the cast of a work-in-progress version of Not Man Apart Physical Theatre Ensemble’s Lysistrata Unbound, at the Getty Villa, Feb 8-10. Eduardo Machado‘s script is billed as a “prequel” to Lysistrata. Not Man Apart’s John Farmanesh-Bocca directs…Inkwell Theater and playwright Elliot Shoenman return to the Odyssey on Feb 8 with A Heap of Livin’, about an aging folk singer (Lawrence Pressman) and his middle-aged daughters (Jayne Brook and Didi Conn), with original music by David Shire. The Inkwell/Shoenman’s previous Odyssey rental was AfterMath with Annie PottsCity Garage opens the premiere of Charles Duncombe‘s Caged on Feb 15, centered on “two naked specimens in a cage”, at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. Judging from the poster for the play, in this cage, the specimens are human beings…New York’s Rattlestick Playwrights Theater will venture into LA with Slipping by Daniel Talbott, about a 17-year-old boy whose father has killed himself and who is moved from San Francisco to Iowa by his mother, opening April 6 at the Lillian in Hollywood…

NOHO NOTES: Interact Theatre presents the LA premiere of Richard Broadhurst‘s Benched — another in the long line of park bench plays — starring Eddie Jones and John Towey, staged by Anita Khanzadian, at NoHo’s Avery Schreiber Theatre, opening Feb 2…Also at the Avery Schreiber, at least until Feb 2, is Anthony Wilkinson‘s My Big Gay Italian Wedding! from Theatre Unleashed, helmed and co-produced by Paul Storiale, who also helped create A Big Gay North Hollywood Wedding in 2009 for the also NoHo-based Crown City Theatre…which, in turn, is opening a revival of the Stephen Sondheim/George Furth Company on Valentine’s Day, Feb 14…

LOVE AND ZOMBIES: Ouch. Elephant Theatre Company in Hollywood is opening Volume XI of Love Bites, an evening of “not-so-romantic” short plays on Feb 8, with a special “anti-Valentine’s Day event” on Feb 14, soon after Zombie Joe opens Love Me Deadly, a “ghost play” by Matthew Sklar, on Feb 3 in NoHo…Speaking of zombies, How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse extends through Feb 25 at Theatre Asylum.

DOMA’s 2013 MUSICALS: Doma Theatre Company has announced its 2013 season of musicals at the Met Theatre, near Santa Monica Blvd and Western Ave: Dreamgirls in March, Sweet Charity in May, The Scarlet Pimpernel in August and the return of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson to the LA area, where it premiered at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in 2008…
Julio Martinez has the week off. This week’s LA STAGE Insider was written by Don Shirley.